When it comes to do-it-yourself weddings, more and more brides are upping the craft ante by dreaming up or recreating elaborate projects that hardly look homemade. These complex creations can be terrifyingly unnerving to the Sunday crafter who wants a little piece of the wedding crafting action, so today’s tutorial offers a comfortable middle ground. Etched glass has an appearance of sophistication, but mastering the technique of simple glass etching is actually quite doable. Our resident crafter, Polly Conway, is here to show you how to jazz up ordinary glassware using this centuries-old art form.
1. Glass (Use an old jar for your first try.)
2. Etching cream
3. Contact paper
4. Wooden popsicle stick
5. Painter’s tape
6. Rubbing alcohol
7. Rubber gloves
Step 1: Clean glass surface with alcohol. If the glass is dirty or smudged, the etching process won’t work.
Step 2: Choose your stencil image and trace it onto a piece of contact paper. For beginners, it’s easier to etch a larger area without too many details. Fun options include letters, stripes, polka dots, or hand-cut geometric shapes. Reminder: The area that gets etched is the part that’s exposed, so cut your stencils accordingly. You can cut out your own letters and shapes with the contact paper, but you can also usepre-cut alphabet stickers for ease.
Step 3: Peel and stick contact paper stencil onto the glass. Press around the edges to make sure it’s secure, adding painter’s tape on all sides. Swipe area to be etched with alcohol again in case of fingerprints. (This stuff can be fussy!)
Step 4: Put on gloves. (Etching cream is crazy toxic: If it can change the properties of glass, you don’t want it on your skin. See packaging for more safety details.) With popsicle stick, spread an even layer of etching cream onto the area you want etched. Wait 3-5 minutes, then spread the cream around again, moving any crystals to create the most even finish. Leave cream on for a total of 5-10 minutes.
Step 5: With gloves still on, rinse cream off with warm water. Remove stickers and tape. Dry glass. A frosted image should remain!